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  1. #1
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    Locking up versus walking bike inside a business

    This is an issue that's really been bothering me. I live in Los Angeles. Sometimes I enjoy running errands on my bike rather than taking the car; it keeps me in better shape, and saves a little gas. But there's a problem; this is not the safest city for locking up a bike. Many stores have pan-handlers, bums, crack-addicts, and unlicensed day-labor workers sitting outside with lots of time on their hands, and not much change in their pockets. I'm not going to say all these people are dishonest, but it's safe to say a few of them are desperate or uninhibited enough to do just about anything.

    I try to avoid the issue of locking up by walking my bike carefully and calmly into a business with the hope that they won't mind. Some places are positively welcoming to me. Other places seem to pay no attention to me, which is also fine. But occasionally I'll come across a place where some eager security guard or front-counter attendant invents an unwritten policy against someone walking their bike into the store. "Sir, you can't have that in here."

    Recently I was in a hardware store. I talked to half a dozen workers there, asking questions, shopping. Everyone was friendly and helpful. When I finally went to the front counter to pay, the girl told me I couldn't have the bike in there, and that I had to take it outside.

    On another occasion I was in a large grocery store. I've walked the bike through this place four or five times before. This time a security guard told me I had to leave the bike outside. Not wanting to cause trouble, I just left. There were too many street people sitting outside for me to feel good about locking up.

    In each of these cases, there was either no rack on premises, or the rack was in an area where nobody inside the store could see it; no security, no cameras, and not near enough the entrance of the store for shoppers to be passing by as they come and go.

    Even if I were to lock up with a U-lock, someone could still steal my seat and post, my pedals, cycle computer, wedge pack (co2, tools, etc.). I imagine a dérailleur could even be pawnable for enough money to buy a hit of crack.

    As I wander around stores, I notice people pushing strollers, shopping carts, personal hand-truck style shopping baskets, riding Little Rascals, and of course wheelchairs. Is a well-maintained and clean bike really any more of a threat to the store's ability to transact business peacefully than any of these other devices?

    How do we go about improving business' tolerance for bikers?
    Cannondale Synapse Sport 5

  2. #2
    Violin guitar mandolin
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    Ask for manager & explain.
    Send polite letter asking permission.

    Other rolling things you mention belong in store. Bike doesn't.

  3. #3
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Are you RIDING your bike in the store? Next time ask them in a loud voice if they ban wheelchairs. Ask them if customers need to remove their shoes. Ask them if they know of a similar store that is more welcoming of bikes.

    Personally, I have no qualms about locking up my bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    This is an issue that's really been bothering me. I live in Los Angeles. Sometimes I enjoy running errands on my bike rather than taking the car; it keeps me in better shape, and saves a little gas. But there's a problem; this is not the safest city for locking up a bike. Many stores have pan-handlers, bums, crack-addicts, and unlicensed day-labor workers sitting outside with lots of time on their hands, and not much change in their pockets. I'm not going to say all these people are dishonest, but it's safe to say a few of them are desperate or uninhibited enough to do just about anything.

    I try to avoid the issue of locking up by walking my bike carefully and calmly into a business with the hope that they won't mind. Some places are positively welcoming to me. Other places seem to pay no attention to me, which is also fine. But occasionally I'll come across a place where some eager security guard or front-counter attendant invents an unwritten policy against someone walking their bike into the store. "Sir, you can't have that in here."

    Recently I was in a hardware store. I talked to half a dozen workers there, asking questions, shopping. Everyone was friendly and helpful. When I finally went to the front counter to pay, the girl told me I couldn't have the bike in there, and that I had to take it outside.

    On another occasion I was in a large grocery store. I've walked the bike through this place four or five times before. This time a security guard told me I had to leave the bike outside. Not wanting to cause trouble, I just left. There were too many street people sitting outside for me to feel good about locking up.

    In each of these cases, there was either no rack on premises, or the rack was in an area where nobody inside the store could see it; no security, no cameras, and not near enough the entrance of the store for shoppers to be passing by as they come and go.

    Even if I were to lock up with a U-lock, someone could still steal my seat and post, my pedals, cycle computer, wedge pack (co2, tools, etc.). I imagine a dérailleur could even be pawnable for enough money to buy a hit of crack.

    As I wander around stores, I notice people pushing strollers, shopping carts, personal hand-truck style shopping baskets, riding Little Rascals, and of course wheelchairs. Is a well-maintained and clean bike really any more of a threat to the store's ability to transact business peacefully than any of these other devices?

    How do we go about improving business' tolerance for bikers?

  4. #4
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    Do you want to be treated as a vehicle (not allowed in a store but allowed on the road ) or a mobility device (not allowed on roads but allowed in stores)?

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    At the very least, if they had no rack to lock your bike to. I'd refuse to shop there. There are U bolts that are pretty darn hard to break open. / Be careful and lock up your wheels. Some will even steal your wheels. Easily done by taking off your front wheel and locking your front and back wheel together with one lock. / Next problem. There are jerks out there. If they can't steal your bike, they will vandalize it.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

  6. #6
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    If a place doesn't have a rack or a decent place to lock; 1.I ask for a rack to be installed, both with local store management and HQ, 2. I take my bike inside.
    I haven't had trouble yet.
    Not too much to say here

  7. #7
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    If you are not getting the answer you want, continue up the chain of command to the store's manager, owner, or corporate office. At some point you'll get an answer from a person who actually matters and you can act accordingly.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Some estimate based on the rate of gas increases. At the rate of rise, if it does not stop or decline. 7 dollars sometime in 2010. That will make bikes more acceptable
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep View Post
    Are you RIDING your bike in the store? Next time ask them in a loud voice if they ban wheelchairs. Ask them if customers need to remove their shoes. Ask them if they know of a similar store that is more welcoming of bikes.
    Big differences between bikes and wheelchairs
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  10. #10
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    Even if I were to lock up with a U-lock, someone could still steal my seat and post, my pedals, cycle computer, wedge pack (co2, tools, etc.). I imagine a dérailleur could even be pawnable for enough money to buy a hit of crack.
    This is pretty easy. First find a cycle computer that you can take with you, should just fit right into a pocket. Maybe look for a messenger bag or back pack to carry the tools, then a set of locking skewers for the wheels and seat post. Another option are is U-Lock with 2 Krypto-style cables to connect both front wheel and seat/seat post to the lock. With a small U-Lock, you can easily lock to a parking meter.

    Check with city government and see if they have any type of program to have bike racks placed. Or request from management at these stores, especially if you can find other cyclists to support it.
    Andrew

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  11. #11
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    Andrew

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  12. #12
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    How do we go about improving business' tolerance for bikers?
    Get a Brompton.





    Alternatively, get a Bike Friday tikit ...

    http://www.youtube.com/user/bikefriday


  13. #13
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    I lean in the door and say "Okay if I bring this in?"

    So far, nobody's said no.
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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  14. #14
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    This is an issue that's really been bothering me. ......
    How do we go about improving business' tolerance for bikers?


    One way to make life easier for cyclists is to REDUCE tolerance of petty crime, which is why zero-tolerance policies in cities (accompanied with three strikes-your out) have been so effective.

    I think ya have to play it by ear. If they have some room up front to tuck the bike, thats fine. I try to keep the bike in sight at all times, no matter where I put it. I doubt most businesses can handle bicycles indoors. The ease with which they are stolen is one of the disadvantages they have as a mode of transport.

    To make the world more bike friendly we have to have secure bike locations. The problem is similar to motorcycles: its easy for someone to 'nick it!' as they say in Britain.


    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  15. #15
    Banned. FXjohn's Avatar
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    why not just drive a beater bike for errands?

  16. #16
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    I did this all the time in southern CA and rarely had a problem. I brought my bike into the bank, hardware store, auto parts store, etc. The only place I ever really had a problem was the Post Office in Costa Mesa, which had no bike racks either. OTOH I rarely went into a chain grocery store where you may be more likely to run into this.

    If you frequent the same places, try asking ahead of time for permission. If you're turned down, try other businesses 'til you get a "yes," then patronize them.

    The main reason I can see for not allowing bikes, besides petty dictator syndrome, is having to keep aisleways completely clear for fire/emergency purposes. The stuff that's there already is approved. Anything else, such as your bike, could be a code violation.

    Consider a beater bike for around town, and security bolts on the seatpost, wheels, etc. "Pitlock" is a good brand.

  17. #17
    Member jwhit75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevetone View Post
    Do you want to be treated as a vehicle (not allowed in a store but allowed on the road ) or a mobility device (not allowed on roads but allowed in stores)?
    when you put it that way, the only thing to do would be lock it up

  18. #18
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    It's funny we spend so much time arguing for fair use of the road and launching share the road campaigns, yet want special treatment and exceptions to the rules.

    You just have to get creative in locking your bike. One of the reasons I will be switching out from a U-Lock as a primary to one of the 5 foot Kryptonite chains. More versatility for utility poles or other large diameter objects. My current grocery store has a really crappy rack, so I stop the bike across the street at the bus stop where there are good racks and walk to the store. Minor inconvenience, but better security. Maybe there is a good, strong rack 1 street over. Lose the convenience, but increase the security.
    Andrew

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  19. #19
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Since I live in rural Northern NY, I rarely even bother to lock up my bike. On the couple of occasions that I've felt iffy about leaving it out front of the store, I've usually just parked in right inside the doors in an unobtrusive sport.

    Quote Originally Posted by politicalgeek View Post
    It's funny we spend so much time arguing for fair use of the road and launching share the road campaigns, yet want special treatment and exceptions to the rules.
    Like everything else in A&S, we need to portray ourselves as the victims.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  20. #20
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    Would you expect to bring your car into the store? What about a motorcycle?

  21. #21
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    I was just at the McDonald's in downtown Dallas. No place to lock up outside, street-people-central area, so I walked it inside. A guy tells me I'm not supposed to bring it inside, but he can watch it for me. But wait- is he even an employee there? Had a security shirt on, but didn't say McDonalds, didn't sayPolice, didn't say who he WAS with. Meanwhile, I've read the comments about them not wanting bikes in the drive through- they need to do something different here.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tabor View Post
    Would you expect to bring your car into the store? What about a motorcycle?
    Both cars and motorcycles lock up with keys, and alarms, and have provided parking... when provided parking is made available for my bicycle, then I'll use it. But until then... if a business wants my money... they had better allow the bike inside.

  23. #23
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    Big differences between bikes and wheelchairs
    Not as big as you'd think, I ride with a person who do to knee troubles can not walk around the block, but can cycle for miles.
    Not too much to say here

  24. #24
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tabor View Post
    Would you expect to bring your car into the store? What about a motorcycle?

    If you can pick up a car or motorcycle and carry it away, then yes, I would expect to bring them inside.
    Not too much to say here

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    As I wander around stores, I notice people pushing strollers, shopping carts, personal hand-truck style shopping baskets, riding Little Rascals, and of course wheelchairs. Is a well-maintained and clean bike really any more of a threat to the store's ability to transact business peacefully than any of these other devices?
    Many of these (wheelchairs, strollers) appear not to have any reasonable alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    How do we go about improving business' tolerance for bikers?
    By not expecting to be able to bring bicycles into the store!

    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep View Post
    Next time ask them in a loud voice if they ban wheelchairs.
    Yeah, it's not like those crippled people need the wheelchairs.

    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    Not as big as you'd think, I ride with a person who do to knee troubles can not walk around the block, but can cycle for miles.
    Does he use a wheelchair? I suspect that what is true for your friend is not typical for wheelchair users.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-27-08 at 12:30 PM.

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